A text warning about the danger of trafficking during times of disaster is going to appear in our mobile phones this week.
The text, which warns people not to get lured by strangers who promise better future as it might result in trafficking and instead inform the police or call 1093 to report if you feel something fishy going on, is a brainchild of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) to spread awareness about the threat of trafficking and sexual harassment in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake.
According to Sunita Nepal, the chief of human trafficking department at MoWCSW, the text will not only alert people about the scourge of human traffickers who see disaster as an opportunity to prey upon the weak and the vulnerable, but also inform people about who to approach should they suspect anyone of such illegal activities.
“We wanted a people friendly tool kit to spread awareness about trafficking and came up with the sms tool. We worked in association with the Ministry of Information and Communication and believe this will make people alert about the scourge of trafficking,” said Nepal.
The sms (text) tool was chosen as a lot of people have access to mobile phones and the massage can be delivered using very little human resource. These texts will appear in both Nepal Telecom and Ncell phones.
MoWCSW has also issued a notice to various airline companies within the country asking them to be extra watchful and asked them to issue ticket to only those female passengers who are able to produce authorised documents.
Similarly, the ministry has already launched an awareness campaign in all the worst quake-hit 14 districts where women in the shelters are alerted about strangers trying to exploit them in the time of disaster, a trend which has left both the women and community vulnerable to crimes like human trafficking.
Nepal informed that MoWCSW has also been working with a few non-government organisations working in areas bordering India and China to work more resiliently to track and stop human trafficking as there is a high chance of people from the earthquake affected areas migrating across the border to leave for foreign destination for work.
Meanwhile, police have also formed a high level crime investigation task force on Sunday to curb crime related to trafficking and foreign employment. The newly-formed task force is headed by DIG Mingmar Lama, who is the director of Central Investigative Bureau and Department of Women and Children Service.
A statement released by the Nepal Police on Sunday stated that the task force was formed to help control the possibility of rise in trafficking of vulnerable people, especially women and children, in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake.